Although not in the Booknook, this book is available upstairs in the nonfiction section in the 612s. Dr. Swaab gives us an in-depth look at how the brain actually works, neurotransmitter by neurotransmitter, cortex by cortex. You will learn a whole lot of brain biology if you read this book, which I found easy to read and very enjoyable. I will admit that Dr. Swaab has a very definite leftward tilt, which you may find distracting, but I didn't. He might also destroy some long held beliefs when he tells you that your DNA and your intrauterine environment are all that impact you and make you who you are. Dr. Swaab is of the opinion that no parental interaction, good or bad will have much effect. Neither will schooling, friends, spouses, anything. You are who you are, but NOT how God made you. God does not enter into Dr. Swaab's equation. He explains why NDEs (Near Death Experiences) are all due to the brain shutting down during death, and he can prove it. Death is just the end, there is no soul, in the Pineal Gland (as René Descartes believed) or anywhere else. And Alzheimer's is just premature brain aging, and it takes a mighty toll. The brain actually shrinks and neurons shrivel up and die, leaving you as helpless as an infant. Free Will? Forget it, he's not even sure you have Free Won't! IQ->Nature, Sexual Orientation->Nature, Criminality->Nature, in Dr. Swaab's mind, everything is driven by DNA and hormones you are exposed to in the womb. He even explains how schizophrenics, diagnosed in their teens, may have entered this world via a difficult birth which was often blamed for their condition, but the difficult birth is actually the first symptom of the malady, not the cause. Babies are born when the neurotransmitter oxytocin tells the baby that the uterus has been "tapped out", and there is no more nourishment to be had from Mom from inside the womb. Mom gets the same signal and oxytocin flows in her brain too, allowing her to go into labor, and then after birth, to bond with the child. (Oxytocin is what bonds husbands and wives too) Schizophrenics suffer a difficult birth because of a malfunction in their DNA, hence their brain, and the birth does not work as it should. Women who opt for a Cesarean birth do not get the same depth of bonding as a vaginal birth, because the oxytocin does not flow the same way. The same is true for mothers who opt for an epidural, which blocks the signals to her brain and impedes the production of oxytocin, dulling the bond that mother and child are meant to share. A fascinating read and well worth the time.
Volunteers crazy about books.